COVID-19 Q&A: Valley doctor answers questions about safely celebrating holidays

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- ABC30 Anchor Graciela Moreno spoke with Community Regional Medical Center Dr. Jeff Thomas to discuss whether it's safe to celebrate Thanksgiving and the holidays amid the latest COVID surge, vaccines and more.

Watch the video player above to see the full Q&A with Dr. Jeff Thomas.

Dr. Thomas said that local hospitalizations have continued to rise and are reaching levels higher than where they were during the July COVID-19 surge.

He said most of the COVID-19 cases we're seeing in the Central Valley are in the 18-55 age range, but most of the deaths are older people.

When it comes to celebrating the holidays, Dr. Thomas said that people need to be smart and follow the recommendations laid out by the CDC.

"Think about how you do things, everything from disposable plates, and a single person serving food, as opposed to each person holding the spoon," he said.

The doctor said people need to stay home if they don't feel good.

"If you don't feel well, don't go. That's a personal responsibility that we have to take," he said.

As for Black Friday shopping, Dr. Thomas says you should avoid it at all costs.

He suggested shopping online or through delivery as much as you can. And if you must go to a store, be aware of your surroundings. If it feels like a store isn't using safety precautions, leave.

Dr. Thomas said as we move closer to a potential COVID-19 vaccine, people will still need to be wary of practicing good hygiene and wearing masks.

Ultimately, he said, getting the vaccine is a personal choice, but mass vaccination is the only way to slow COVID-19 outbreaks. "If COVID is anywhere, COVID is everywhere," he added.

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